Borderlands 2 creative director Paul Hellquist has penned a new blog that addresses fan criticism of the way loot works in the Gearbox shooter, and explains quite explicitly how the mechanic works.
I thought the game’s loot system was fine, but apparently not it seems. One common criticism Hellquist saw on the forums was that people would find an ace gun early on and stick with it for most of the game, ignoring everything else that came along.
In the blog he said, “Many players would find a high end gun in the mid game around level 15-20 and use that weapon for the rest of the game through both playthroughs, or at least use it for many, many levels before finding something they felt was an improvement.”
He explained that this took excitement away from the game and that the culprit was the game’s growth curve between enemy health and weapon damage when compared to your gamestage. Basically, weapon level and enemy health were out of sync, meaning you could just use one gun for ages and never feel too pressured. a level 15 and level 30 gun weren’t too far apart, output-wise.
Hellquist continued, “In a game with millions of pieces of gear it is a shame for people use the same weapon for a thirty level period. My mission became to try and get players to use a weapon for a much shorter period than in Borderlands so that players would explore the massive breadth of weapons and gear that the game provides instead of using Sledge’s Shotgun for the entire game.
“Strangely, the solution came from looking at the economy in Borderlands which used a compounding interest model so that you started out buying things for 10 dollars but by the end of the game you were buying items for millions of dollars. The curve of the economy grew dramatically with each level you gained.
“I took this model and applied it to the damage of weapons and health of the enemies. What this method provided was a significant difference in the damage stat of a weapon that was a level higher than the one you were using.
“When your weapon becomes about 4 levels old the damage number on the new weapons dropping is so much larger that you will generally upgrade because the old weapon just can’t hit hard enough to keep up with the health of the higher level enemies.”
It goes on for a while, but Hellquist also explains how boss loot drops work, and answers some fan queries in a Q&A at the end.
What did you make of Borderlands 2’s loot drop system? Let us know below.